After weighing 198 pounds in 1997, J.R. Lavan’s weight reached a high of 358 pounds just a few years later. During that time, he was eating a lot and not exercising. Between meals, J.R. snacked on chips, candy, oatmeal cakes, cheese and sausage. Because of his weight, it was difficult for him to get up after sitting in a low chair or to bend over to pick up a grandchild or even tie his shoes. He couldn’t drive one of his trucks very well because his stomach pressed against the steering wheel.
Then in 2000, he developed diabetes and started taking oral medication. A few years later, he became insulin dependent.
Suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, knee problems, foot problems and other conditions, J.R. found it difficult to lose weight on his own.
In March 2009, he underwent gastric bypass surgery. Between that time and March 2010, his weight dropped from 335 to 196 pounds. He is working toward a goal of 175 pounds. He can’t eat very much anymore — only small portions at meals and no snacks between meals.
J.R. used to take 16 pills in the morning and 13 pills at bedtime. Now he only takes a small dose of one blood pressure medicine. He also takes vitamin and mineral supplements, which will always be needed after gastric bypass surgery. He checks his blood sugar level twice each day. He says it is usually around 80 and has not been over 100 since the surgery.
J.R. now runs six miles and walks two miles five days a week. On the weekends, he walks four miles each day. And when he goes out of town, he tries to find a hotel with a treadmill and a swimming pool.
J.R. enjoys life much more and his medical problems have declined. He says it is wonderful to feel this size. He can play baseball and basketball with his grandchildren and even jump on the trampoline with them. When he drives his truck, he has to scoot the seat up; his grandchildren tell him he looks like a little boy driving that truck.
J.R. recommends gastric bypass surgery for others and describes it as a “second chance on life. It’s left up to me to control it now.”
He also recommends the Scott & White Bariatric Surgery Department, “because of the facilities and the staff; everyone was nice and took good care of me.”